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Philippe Rivet

DBA Graduate - 2004

Thesis title

La contribution du dirigeant de PME à l'efficacité du processus de l'innovation technologique incrémentale de produit: leçons d'expériences dans une PME française de moyenne technologie


Jean-Jacques Chanaron-Externe
The scope of this thesis is clearly defined by the nature of technological innovation, with regard to its content and financial outcomes in term of turnover. Technological innovation is multisectoral and requires particular care within industrial economics. It also has significant impacts on out-of-date products, quality, product ranges, and new market development toward better perceived performance, from the market’s point of view. Technological innovation should be a key target for entrepreneurs, even though its risks are unavoidable and firms must consider some of its drawbacks (e.g., finance, size, human resources, knowledge). In particular, the match between the offer and demand is important for incremental products that rely on technological innovations, to determine which variables cause such innovation. A particular focus addresses feedback loops. The literature review encompasses studies that deal with firms’ networks, virtual organization, motivation, competences, initiatives, product development, and rules and regulations. This thesis also investigates the role of entrepreneurs as sellers of particular technology products, who receive strategic empowerment and communicate across the firm’s hierarchy. The data were collected through semi-directed interviews with senior executives, case studies, and additional information that supported the definition of a set of variables. The results, based on qualitative analyses of the interviews, confirm three hypotheses. A feedback loop seems important for identifying a new market and developing analytical concepts. The entrepreneur must be knowledgeable about the product. Finally, it is very important to have technological and sales knowledge and thus be able to offer quick and precise answers to unsatisfied customer. Furthermore, knowledge about the product relates closely to the ability to offer quick and precise input, and communication skills are crucial for developing analytical knowledge about an incremental innovation product. These conclusions all contribute to defining the influence of the entrepreneur in the realm of technology innovation.